The N1 and Irùn, or France and Spain !!

Well I am happy to tell you found more older pictures of my road warrior trips between France and Spain. Of course, I am lucky to have found them ,and gladly include them in my blog for me and you. My road warrior mode make me go back and forth between my dear countries of France and Spain many many times, over the years. And one of the memorable routes was along the Atlantic ocean into Irun in Spain on the road N1. This is a bit on that story for old times’ sake. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The town of Irun is in the province of Guipuzcoa in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, Facing the French city of Hendaye from which it is separated by the Bidassoa river, which it is connected by four bridges, two rail and two road ; the oldest of which is the Saint-Jacques international bridge and near Fontarrabie,. It shares with them the bay of Txingudi, it occupies a strategic position on the border between Spain and France, and commands the main passage of the western Pyrénées.

For many of us, Irun is just a place of passage on the road to San Sebastian and Hondarribia, a few minutes by car from the French coast. A paradise of cheap gasoline and cheap cigarettes, its reputation as a border town sticks to its skin. When we cross the Bidasoa bridge and leave France, we could had stop instead did the same some cheap buys and gasoline filled up car tank to continue our journey either to San Sebastian or Madrid, It is in my plans to stop by longer, eventually,

Irun N1 road over to Spain aug08

Irun over to Spain aug08

That is what we did several times going on the Carretera Nacional N-1 making the run Irun to Madrid . The N 1 is a radial road that connects Madrid with Lasarte-Oria, crossing Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Miranda de Ebro, Vitoria and Alsasua. Currently the N-I is split into the Madrid-Rubena (Burgos) and Miranda de Ebro/Armiñón sections (limit Burgos with Álava)-Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzkoa); as a consequence of this, it has been renamed A-1 (Autovía del Norte) except in Guipúzcoa, where it is still called N-1. Previously it continued through San Sebastián and ended in Behobia (Irún) on the edge of the French border From kilometer 454, the infrastructure continues to be the same, but with the designations GI-11 (previously N-Ia) and GI-20 (both still as motorways near San Sebastian) and GI-636 (one-lane road or 2/3 lanes between Pasajes, Rentería, Irún and the French border). Pasajes-Irún: renamed to GI-636 in 2010, this last section of the N-1 is the free alternative to the toll highway.

Irun N1 over to San Sebastian road aug08

Irun over to Spain road N1 aug08

Historically, it can be considered that the precedent of this road was the Camino Real de Coches or royal road of carriages which, entering Gipuzkoa through the Arlabán pass, followed Salinas de Léniz (Leintz-Gatzaga), Eskoriatza, Aretxabaleta, Mondragón, Bergara, Antzuola , Villafranca (Urretxu), Zumárraga, Ormaiztegi, Igartza (close to Beasain), Tolosa, Andoain, Hernani, Astigarraga, Oiartzun, Ventas de Irún and Irún.

A bit of history I like now that I am on Irùn.

In the 12C, the territories that until then had been part of the Kingdom of Navarra were incorporated into Castilla. The first written reference relating to Irun appears in 1203. In 1512, King Fernando el Catolico or Catholic began the Castle of Gaztelu Zahar, which was destroyed in 1539 by Charles V, in case of reconquest by the Navarrese, who already had French support to recover the kingdom on previous occasions meant that no more forts could be built here, The first battle of San Martial, June 30, 1522, the battalion of the people of Irùn defeated the troops of the King of Navarre, who had the support of the King of France, In 1659 was signed in the Island of Pheasants (Béhobie ) the Peace of the Pyrenees between France and Spain (recall king Louix XIV and Infanta Maria Teresa),Today, still the frontier of the two countries, On August 31, 1813, the Second Battle of San Martial ended the War of Independence (peninsula war). With their victory in this battle, the Spanish troops and the Anglo-Portuguese of the Duke of Wellington defeated the Napoleonic troops in a bloody battle. Finally, the last act of war in the history of Irùn took place during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, on September 2 of that year. During this conflict a large part of the city was destroyed, set on fire by the retreating Republican army,

Today ,Irùn is part of the Bidasoa-Txingudi consorcio, a structure under Spanish law (consorcio) bringing together the towns of Irun and Hondarribia in Guipuscoa (Spain) and the French town of Hendaye (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). Its creation dates back to 1998 and its headquarters are in Irun. In 2001 ,Irun joined the Basque Eurocity Bayonne – San Sebastian. The Basque Eurocity Bayonne – San Sebastián is a Franco-Spanish territory. It extends along 50 km of coast of the Bay of Biscay, on both sides of the Bidassoa, a small river which forms the border between France (Pyrénées-Atlantiques department) and Spain (Guipuscoa province). ). The whole territory is part of Euskal Herria, the Basque Country. It covers an area of ​​899 km2.

Some of the things to see here which I just passed by in my road warrior best mode between France and Spain are the 16C Church of Santa María del Juncal, which has a Baroque facade and a Romanesque image of the saint in question. The baroque City/town hall is also among its monumental buildings as well as the column of San Juan Harri which commemorates the independence of the city. The Palacio Arbelaiz palace which served as a pension for many Spanish and French monarchs. It was rebuilt after being destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Hermitage of San Martial: hermitage built to commemorate the battle of San Martial in 1522. It was rebuilt in 1804 and is located in the San Martial mountain on the outskirts of the town. From a watchtower near the chapel, beautiful view of the city, the Jaizkibel, Hondarribia, Cape Higuer, the Bay of Biscay, the bay of Txingudi, Hendaye and Béhobie. Hermitage of Saint Elena dates from the 14C, although inside were found archaeological remains of a 1C Roman temple and an older native necropolis. You can also visit the Hermitage Museum of Ama Xantalen ,an archaeological museum.

The town of Irun on its heritage

The local Bidasoa tourist office on Irun

The Hendaye tourist office on Irun

There you go folks, a dandy memorable ways of my dear France and Spain. The N1 is very nice ride even if today some sections are cut into the expressway, worth the detour and trip on it, with the Pyrénées lurking on you! Again, hope you enjoy the post and thanks for the road warrior in me.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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